All Time Low and Pale Waves stars Alex Gaskarth and Heather Baron-Gracie talk anxiety, lockdown and their awesome new collaboration PMA

It’s been a big month for All Time Low. Following an energised performance of Monsters on The Ellen Show, the Baltimore pop-punks have just shared their first new music since 2020’s 4K-rated Wake Up, Sunshine album: the brilliant Once In A Lifetime. For vocalist/guitarist Alex Gaskarth, it feels like band life is almost back again after the strange and unsettling whirlwind of this past year…

The Ellen performance was really interesting,” he tells Kerrang! from an Airbnb in Los Angeles. ​I think we were the first live band that they had on the show since the shutdown – since the pandemic began. So it was really interesting to be that artist on the show, because everyone was really, really excited; everyone was genuinely buzzing about having a band in the studio! It was cool for us because we felt really lucky and excited to be doing something that felt like a normal semblance of work, but then at the same time, we also had Ellen sitting out while we rehearsed the song – like, in the audience watching us do it, because she was genuinely so excited to have someone in the studio. The producers were coming up being like, ​She never does this!’ It was nice to see that excitement translate through everyone. I think everyone’s on the same page with that.

We had a great time doing it,” Alex adds. ​I mean, we really haven’t had a whole lot of opportunities to play that song live yet. We did the livestream shows that we put on last year, but this was really one of the first times this year that we’ve gotten to do that song, not on a Zoom acoustic, you know?”

Away from Zoom shows and their first real-life performance, All Time Low – completed by guitarist Jack Barakat, bassist Zack Merrick and drummer Rian Dawson – have also been chipping away at new material. It hasn’t always been easy, with the pandemic still very much a part of everyone’s lives, but the band have been productive…

I think there’s definitely an air of it being hard to find motivation and hard to find creativity when really all you’re seeing are the same four walls every day,” Alex ponders, ​but it in some ways it was a good challenge and there was obviously still a lot to pull from and write about. It was easy over that whole year to not want to do anything from a personal standpoint, but getting over the hurdles of motivation and getting the gears turning felt really good – it was actually very rewarding to get stuff out. It was nice!”

Here, Alex opens up about the first slice of new material from these creative sessions – Once In A Lifetime – as well as where All Time Low are at right now, and what else is to come… 

Following the huge success of Wake Up, Sunshine, it feels like All Time Low are on such a great songwriting streak at the moment – and Once In A Lifetime keeps that trajectory going. What do you attribute that to?
I think I would attribute it to the fact that we’re really not that far removed from Wake Up, Sunshine coming out, and that whole creative process. Usually when we put out a record, we then go on tour for about two years, and it’s a very different gear that we switch into. So almost the creative brain switches off a little bit, but this time around, because that wasn’t an option, I found sooner than later it just made sense to get back into thinking about songwriting again. And I think because of that, it was all very much still tied up in the world of Wake Up, Sunshine and everything we had just done. That was kind of the thought process behind it, and Once In A Lifetime feels like it’s cut from the same cloth as some of the approaches we were taking on Monsters. I don’t know where this next thing is going yet – we’ve written a few new songs, and I don’t know if that means we’re going to make another album or if it’s going to be just some songs, or if it’s going to be an extended version of the last record or whatever. But it certainly feels like it’s all kind of an evolution of Wake Up, Sunshine, and it’s a continuation of that with some story-building in mind. I really liked what Taylor Swift did during this whole shutdown and everything, where she put out her first folky record [Folklore], and then immediately followed it up almost with sort of a sister album [Evermore], and it all feels like one big body of work when you listen to it together. I think that could be something that maybe we’re working towards… perhaps!”

So is Once In A Lifetime a standalone release for now, or is it a follow-up to Wake Up, Sunshine… or does it mark the start of a new chapter?
It’s weird! We’re sort of just going with the flow, because that’s the nature of the world we’re living in right now. It helps to be a little bit agile and just kind of work with the times. But I do think we’re building towards something – I just don’t know what that ​something’ is quite yet! But I think we’ll probably know, sooner than later.”

Was the single made in the same way as Wake Up, Sunshine – with all four of you under one roof?
It wasn’t possible, to be honest. Jack and I wrote the song with our collaborator friend, Andrew Goldstein, who we also worked on Monsters with. So the three of us were actually together; we did like a week of writing together and everybody got tested, and everybody was kind of holed up in one space safely. We banged out a handful of songs in that moment, and Once In A Lifetime was a product of that writing session. We did end up getting the other guys in town – Rian and Zack both came into Los Angeles, and we recorded drums and bass and got everybody’s take on it. But it was a bit more remote this time around just because it had to be. But the core of it was still there, you know?”

You’d said there was an effort to make the last album have a fun, summer, light feeling, compared to Last Young Renegade which was a bit darker… Where does Once In A Lifetime fall, musically?
It’s interesting, because obviously the subject matter is darker; it’s a song about dealing with loss and accepting loss. I think that was something that was a very universal constant for people through 2020; it was a very difficult year for most people, and we were able to write that song from a personal place. But as you peel back the layers and the surface meanings of the song, there’s a much deeper thing going on to it that I think was sort of cast from the shared experience that we were all going through in a very bizarre year. And I think a lot of the new music kind of lives in that world. I don’t want to say that it’s ​dark’, per se, but [compared] to the fact that Wake Up, Sunshine was a light, celebratory, energetic record, I think this is maybe a swing in the other direction, ever so slightly, just because of the times. I think it would have been impossible for us to be holed up in our rooms for months and be like, ​Let’s write happy songs!’ (Laughs) It just didn’t feel that natural at the time.”

It’s quite personal and specific – but have you also been writing more existential stuff lately just purely inspired by these strange times?
Yeah, this song, Once In A Lifetime, kind of lands right in the middle of that. It was definitely inspired by events going on in Jack and I’s lives, and watching what was happening in the band and things like that. But, beyond that, there’s very much this looser, bigger concept of dealing with loss – that really kind of solidified the core concept of the song. And, you know, I’ve never heard ​once in a lifetime’ used in that way before, of sort of referring to a negative, and, ​I hope it never gets worse than this’ kind of thing. And that relates back to the line in the middle of the chorus, where we are self-referential and drop our own band name! It was an interesting dynamic, because on one hand we’re sort of talking about hitting your lowest point, but at the other end of that there was also this internal conceptual thing about how the band All Time Low is an escape for us as the members of it. You know, Wake Up, Sunshine was very much like a celebration of our band – it was us going back through the years and taking the pieces of our music and our sound that we love the most and putting that into new music. And I think, in a certain way, this song is a continuation of that, but we’re also sort of referring to what Wake Up, Sunshine was and how it lifted us and carried us through a lot of things. I think that’s kind of a cool meta commentary on the whole thing!”

Was the name drop a happy accident or was it intentional like, ​Ooooh, I know what I could do here…’?!
Sometimes you’re writing lyrics and filling in the lines, and obviously the rhyme scheme worked! In the moment, it just made a lot of sense to have that be the lyric. But as we wrote it down, we all looked at each other and went, ​Can we do this? Is this okay to say? Or is this really cheesy?’ But the more we sat with it, the more it made sense – on so many different levels. And if you can’t drop your own band name after 15 years, then what have you been doing?! I feel like we’ve earned the right at this point!”

The single has that huge All Time Low chorus but there’s some different and slightly weirder stuff going on surrounding that… is that something that Wake Up, Sunshine has given you the confidence to do?
I think so. Wake Up, Sunshine felt so realised as far as the different sounds that this band can get away with, and how we can work within those dynamics. And I think we’re just learning more and more about where All Time Low is able to go in the current landscape of music. And I think that’s really exciting, because we understand the space we’re working in it feels really authentic as we do it. It just allows us to be creative and a little bit more experimental with certain aspects of songs, without coming out with something that doesn’t sound like our band.”

You had a lot of success with Monsters in particular over the past year. Are you looking at that and going, ​Well, we did something different there and it worked – so let’s keep exploring that’?
Yeah, no doubt. I mean, it’s really cool when you see something click, and it clicks authentically. People latch on to it not because it’s being promoted heavily by the record label or something, but because there’s a genuine buzz for the song. That’s what Monsters did for us; the second the record came out there was a very natural reaction of, ​Oh, that song’s streaming the best. Oh, that song is getting the most views.’ It just started to put its hands up, and then you go, ​Okay, maybe we were really on to something with this…’ And I think that goes even further in that Monsters was a song that was a collaboration with blackbear, which was an experiment in and of itself to see if that would work and connect with people. And it did, so all of it – top to bottom – really informed where we’re going next.”

Does that success also make new music daunting? Like, ​Oh god, well it better do as well as that…’?
Yeah! It’s hard not to get a little caught up in the pressure of trying to follow up on a thing that’s been massively successful, you know? And I say that in the most humble of ways – I’m not trying to sit here and brag! We’re 15 years into a career and we’ve had some successes with a song that we’ve literally never had before in all the time that we’ve been a band. It would then be easy for us to look at that and want to chase it because it’s this new thing that’s bubbling for us, but I think you have to err on the side of not doing that – not feeling too much pressure and just writing songs that feel true and authentic in the moment. If they go and work and do amazing things then that’s great, but these moments come and go, and we’ve been in it long enough to know that chasing them usually ends up not working out as well!”

Were you at all reluctant to be releasing more new music in the pandemic in any way?
For us it became about, ​This is life.’ In my mind, the longer the pandemic and the shutdown drags on, the more it was like it almost felt like cheapening it to try and wait for the world to get back to normal – because I don’t think the world is ever going to be totally normal after this. And that’s not to sound darker or pessimistic; I just that this year is going to change things forever in a lot of ways. And so, as such, because this is the new reality that we’re living in, I think it’s important that we treat it that way: that we don’t let the idea of an indefinite new situation hold us back from trying to make people happy with our music.”

When you tour properly again, is it going to be the Wake Up, Sunshine tour, or will you have even more new music to play live on top of that?
It really just depends on when we are able to actually get back to touring! We have we have these dates in the UK set for September at the moment, and things were looking dicey for a while whether or not that would be a thing that we could do, but it’s starting to feel more and more likely that it’ll be able to happen. Our hearts are set on that, and we’re cautiously optimistic! And so when we do get back over to play shows, I think there will be a heavy emphasis on Wake Up, Sunshine just because we didn’t really get to celebrate that record live with anyone, so that will definitely be a focus point. But I think we’ll have to adapt and build the show around whatever we have going in that moment.”

You spoke to Kerrang! in December and said you’ve probably got another two albums’ worth of music at this point. What’s status of that material?
There’s always songs sitting around, and we had a few more leftover this time. It really just depends, because the further away you get from a writing session, sometimes the songs just don’t feel like they hold water anymore as you move away from them, and you actually feel more inspired to create new music. But we’ll see! There’s a handful of stuff that I love, and there might be a time and place where the songs make sense. But there’s also more music to be written, and I think the emphasis for us right now is that.”


The Last Young Renegade experience left All Time Low feeling unsure of their future. A break from the band offered its members renewed perspectives, but before they could move forward, they needed to reconnect with who they truly are.

author: Jake Richardson

“If I’m being completely honest,” Alex Gaskarth begins, “our hearts weren’t in it.”

This stark admission comes as he reflects upon the culmination of All Time Low’s campaign for their last album, 2017’s Last Young Renegade. Calling it quits wasn’t necessarily on the cards, but still, the band had no idea where they were going next. Following what they describe as “pretty much 12 years straight on the road”, enthusiasm had been replaced with near-complete burn-out.

The decision was made, therefore, to put everything on hold.

“My mind was occupied by the fact that, creatively, I didn’t know what the next step for All Time Low was,” recalls Alex, the band’s vocalist, guitarist and chief songwriter. “This was the first time that we actually thought the next thing we needed to do was to take some time away, and put a pin in things. If you’re tired and inspired, it’s not hard to keep pushing, but we were tired and uninspired at the end of the Last Young Renegade cycle. If we’d sat down immediately after that campaign came to an end and tried to write a follow-up, I think the end result would’ve been terrible.

“That was the moment we realised we needed to hit reset on All Time Low.”

New album Wake Up, Sunshine, unveiled last month, is the ultimate result of that break, but its creation wasn’t one that came about purely because of recharged batteries. All Time Low found themselves at a crossroads when they sat down to begin work again last year, a situation that required consideration of what had paid off so well for them in the past, as well as reflection on the trying events of recent times. Soul-searching was needed in order to write what might be the most important album of their career.

Such a revelation might come as a surprise to the wider world. From the outside looking in, it would appear as though things were ticking along rather smoothly. Last Young Renegade had been a departure in style, leaning more on alt-pop than the pop-punk sound the quartet – completed by guitarist Jack Barakat, bassist Zack Merrick and drummer Rian Dawson – made their name with. But its critical success had pleased the frontman (“All the reviews said we’d grown up, which was great to read,” he remembers), and All Time Low managed to extend the campaign with the release of the well-received pair of singles Everything Is Fine and Birthday.

For Jack, however, it had all become too much to handle.

“I was exhausted when all of that finally ended,” the guitarist says. “It felt like we’d been at it non-stop for so long. I needed to step away and take a breather. Honestly, things have felt a little suffocating for me in the band in the past, because All Time Low has been my whole life. I’ve spent more of my years in this band than out of it. At times, that takes its toll.”

Jack, like his bandmates, welcomed the break, but rest quickly turned into restlessness. He’d been so used to the structure of his life revolving around band activities that he confesses to “waking up and not knowing what to do” without it.

“The absence of the band left me a little lost,” he continues. “I was questioning what I was doing with my life.”

The meaning Jack was searching for came from an unlikely source. Coping with struggles in his personal life as well as coming to terms with an existence without the demands of All Time Low involved, he got together with singer-songwriter Kevin Fisher and poured his feelings into the pop project WhoHurtYou, eventually releasing the EP Stages in November of last year.

“That was a period of growth and transition for me,” Jack recounts. “WhoHurtYou was me finding a path forwards and embarking on a new journey, which was really helpful and something I obviously needed. It was scary to step out like that, but I’m glad I did.”

Alex, meanwhile, had a creative itch to scratch of his own. 2019 saw the birth of pop-punk power duo Simple Creatures, a band formed with blink-182’s Mark Hoppus. Similar to what Jack was doing with WhoHurtYou, this music was a far cry from All Time Low’s core sound, the band’s two EPs, Strange Love and Everything Opposite, blending pop-rock with elements of electronica, new wave and ‘80s synth-pop. It almost sounded like what All Time Low had done on Last Young Renegade pushed to the extreme.

“What was driving Last Young Renegade was my desire to do something new, and I think that’s what you then saw taken further with Simple Creatures,” Alex explains. “Working with Mark allowed me to do something with no expectations or history tied to it, which I found really beneficial. Doing something new felt good, and it gave me a fresh perspective on All Time Low, and I know it was the same for Jack with WhoHurtYou. I’ve always been at the forefront of the writing for All Time Low, so it was good for him to step away and do something where he could be like, ‘This is mine.’ We both came back to the table refreshed and ready to go again.”

Before Alex and Jack could think about the future of All Time Low, they needed to take stock of their past. The Last Young Renegade cycle had seen them try some new things. Straying from their long-successful pop-punk formula was brave, but not everyone was on board.

“I’d be lying if I said there weren’t some uncomfortable moments,” Alex acknowledges. “Last Young Renegade was certainly perceived differently than our previous material, and that meant we questioned whether people liked what we’d done. The fan response wasn’t what we were used to, and I think some people didn’t know what to do with the songs. There were definitely times when the reaction felt disappointing, because we’d poured ourselves into making something different and it didn’t seem to connect with people right away.”

The original vision Alex had for Last Young Renegade was an even greater departure than that which fans actually received. He now admits that it was initially envisioned as a full-blown concept album set in a “Stranger Things-esque, Upside Down world.” There was even a suggestion that the band might break free of the All Time Low moniker and perform as ‘The Young Renegades’ on tour.

“I wish we’d leaned into the conceptual side a little more,” he admits now.

It’s clear that, despite it being a solid record, All Time Low’s identity had become muddled. The desire to get away from the juvenile, joker-in-the-pack image they had cultivated on their early pop-punk classics was understandable. After all, the members of All Time Low are now men in their 30s. Alex even goes as far as to reluctantly accept that there’s a “brand” around ATL built largely upon what they were doing a decade ago – something which, particularly in recent years, he’s been looking to shake.

Simultaneously embracing the past and forging a new way forward had become a challenge, but 2019’s 10-year anniversary of Nothing Personal marked an opportunity for Alex, Jack, Zack and Rian to reflect on where the band had once been, and analyse the clues it may hold for their future.

It’s Still Nothing Personal: A Ten Year Tribute, released last year, saw the quartet re-record their breakthrough third album, alongside a string of anniversary shows. Getting to grips with the material that set them on the path to stardom sparked a period of reflection, as they reminisced about the songs that put them where they are today, and looked at how the unadulterated energy of that album could inform All Time Low’s next move.

“The Nothing Personal celebrations reminded us what makes this band special,” Jack says. “It demonstrated what sets us apart, and we took that into the new material. It felt like a fitting way to end one era and welcome in a new one.”

All Time Low’s rapid rise in the rock world meant that, by the time Nothing Personal rolled around, they had producer hook-ups and co-write opportunities galore. The band went from writing in Alex’s basement to working on songs with people such as Terius Nash, a man credited on the song Too Much, who has also co-written pop hits by the likes of Britney Spears and Rihanna. It wasn’t the kind of creative environment afforded to many young pop-punk bands in 2009, but fast-forward to 2019, and off the back of celebrating the legacy of their biggest hits, Alex decided it was time to go old-school.

Hitting up Rian, he suggested All Time Low should book their drummer’s studio in Nashville, Tennessee for a month and do things the way they used to – four friends in a room with no outside influences offering input. It was there that Wake Up, Sunshine was born.

“There was no pressure or expectation, just us getting in a room and seeing what happened,” Alex recalls. “That approach continued throughout the rest of Wake Up, Sunshine’s creation. We didn’t allow any outside pressure. We locked ourselves away and jammed like you do when you’re first starting as a band. It reminded me of what making So Wrong, It’s Right was like. We hadn’t worked that way in a long time.”

A trio of exciting new songs quickly flowed. There was Some Kind Of Disaster, the upbeat yet confessional first single, as well as summery smash Getaway Green – which the band would go on to debut at their 2019 headline slot at Slam Dunk – and pop-punk rager Melancholy Kaleidoscope. All Time Low were living in the moment, rolling with whatever felt right and making music that made them happy.

“It felt good to be in a room making music with the boys again,” Alex remembers.

After hearing those early ideas, Jack also sensed a rebirth was on the cards.

“I remember hearing the initial songs and my first thought being like, ‘Fuck, I’m excited for this!’” he says. “Alex had smashed it – it was a great starting point.”

This time around, though, Jack felt he had more to offer. After acting as a primary creative force with WhoHurtYou, he wanted to be more involved in shaping All Time Low’s future.

“I had a big hand in writing a couple of the songs on this album, which was a great feeling,” he enthuses. “In the past, I didn’t have the confidence, and to be honest, the knowledge, to be able to contribute in a major way. But writing songs and lyrics with WhoHurtYou and finally being able to tell my story with that band meant that coming into Wake Up, Sunshine, I was feeling a lot more creative and confident about my All Time Low ideas. More than anything, it felt great to finally be someone in the band who was more than a performer or the guy who provides comic relief onstage.”

The song Monsters, an exciting collaboration with hip-hop artist blackbear, was one such song bearing Jack’s mark. A vibrant coming together of pop-punk, alt-pop and rap, it’s the kind of thing the band were shooting for on Last Young Renegade, yet retains the spikiness and energy that characterised the All Time Low of old. It’s a track that was written during the second part of Wake Up, Sunshine’s creative process, whereby the band had relocated from Nashville to Palm Desert in California.

“We literally drove everything we needed for a studio out to a house in the desert with our producer, Zakk Cervini [Poppy, Yungblud],” Alex says. “What made this record really special was that for the first time in many years we were living together while we were writing and recording. We’d wake up, get breakfast, grab instruments and start playing.”

Throughout Wake Up, Sunshine’s 15 tracks, you can hear that sense of rejuvenation and reconnection with All Time Low’s past. There are a couple of songs – Pretty Venom and Basement Noise – which stray more towards alt-pop territory, but in no uncertain terms this is a pop-punk record, infused with massive choruses and carpe diem spirit. Infectious tracks such as Clumsy and Safe are sure-fire anthems, the latter finding Alex triumphantly declaring, ‘Put the car in drive and don’t stop running ‘til you’re long gone.’

It sounds exactly like the kind of thing you’d expect a group who came up in the pop-punk world to be making now they’re grown men. Wake Up, Sunshine is a throwback to the ATL of old, but it doesn’t simply replicate the past, striking a key tone of youthful vibrancy throughout.

It’s a feel-good listen, but that doesn’t mean the band, and Alex in particular, didn’t get put through the emotional wringer in order to make it.

“One overarching theme that inspired Wake Up, Sunshine is that of getting better and feeling comfortable in your own skin,” Alex offers. “The title is about waking up to a new life and feeling rejuvenated, but it’s also a call to action. Coming up with the title was like me grabbing myself by the collar, slapping myself in the face and saying, ‘Wake up, dude! It’s time to do things right.’

“I’ve been through some dark times recently,” he continues. “Coming out the other side was a big thing on this record. I’ve been struggling with anxiety and my identity, and that gets both explored and put to bed on Wake Up, Sunshine. This album is me coming to terms with who I am, as well as reflecting on where we’ve been with the band and looking to the future.”

Having gone through a sticky patch collectively and as individuals in recent times, 2020 finds All Time Low returning with a renewed sense of faith in the music they’ve been making for the past 16 years, and Wake Up, Sunshine sees them wearing their scars with pride. The reception awarded to Getaway Green at Slam Dunk, and the subsequent online clamour for it to be released has given them confidence that the direction they’re heading in – one which builds on and embraces everything they’ve done up to this point – is the correct one.

The outpouring of love for Some Kind Of Disaster and its lyrics (“It’s a message from me saying, ‘Despite everything I put you through, thank you for still being here with me,’” Alex says), meanwhile, has helped him come to terms with his anxieties, flaws and mistakes.

“It’s about that first step in the process of sitting down and confronting your demons and vices,” Alex says of the openness with which he approached Wake Up, Sunshine. “Denial, dismissiveness and the feeling of inadequacy are all present. That song in particular is about acknowledging how people screw up, but that we’re stronger when we forgive, both others and ourselves. All told, this music is an ode to important people in my life, particularly the fans.”

Despite fan adoration and lyrical honesty, though, it’s the bond between the four men in All Time Low that shines brightest on these songs. The creation of this album has seen Alex, Jack, Zack and Rian grow as people and as artists, and rediscover their identity as a band. And in their eyes, it’s the friendship between them that’s holding this all together in 2020, just like it did in 2003.

“It says a lot that you can put the four of us under a roof in the desert and we can make a record without killing each other!” Alex jokes. “But in all seriousness, we grow together in this band – we’re always there for each other and act as our own internal support system. Even when times get rough, we resolve things before they get unhealthy. We’ve got such a good thing going in All Time Low, so there’s no reason to do what a lot of bands do and blow themselves apart over petty shit. When you’ve got it this good and you’re still making new fans over 15 years after you started, egos aren’t necessary.”

“The year off was a great reminder of how special what we have with All Time Low is,” Jack adds. “Being away from it for a while, I realised that I was probably taking it for granted. It’s easy to get lost within it all and feel like you need to get away to do something else. Going away, doing another project and then coming back and playing those Nothing Personal shows gave me a newfound respect for how amazing what we’ve built with All Time Low is. It’s made me value what we have that much more.”

Despite all the pressure, expectation and turmoil that comes with this life, things still feel as good as they did when All Time Low first embarked on this journey, seemingly.

“They absolutely do,” Jack concludes. “We started off as friends and we’ve been through a lot of changes in life and with the band, but I think those experiences have brought us closer together. We’re a family, really, and I see the bond between us as unbreakable now. This band, in my eyes, is together forever.”

He pauses.

“In fact, All Time Low doesn’t even feel like a band anymore. We’re brothers. That’s what makes this special.”

All Time Low’s new album Wake Up, Sunshine is out now via Fueled By Ramen/Atlantic.


As All Time Low celebrate the release of their eighth studio album – Wake Up, Sunshine – we thought we’d ask frontman Alex Gaskarth to rank every ATL album in order from his least to (ahem) all-time favourite…

8. Put Up Or Shut Up (2006)

“This is a fucked-up thing to ask someone to do! These are my babies, and I know my ranking will bum people out. I kinda hate you for asking me to do this! Anyway, my least favourite is the EP, because it’s the rawest and most uninformed of our records. When I listen back to it, I cringe a bit.”

7. Dirty Work (2011)

“There was a lot of negativity surrounding this album, which is a real shame because it’s got some fucking good songs. I’d say Dirty Work is 75 per cent on the way to being a sick record, but we made a few miscalculations. It’s less the music and more the memories of that time that’s led me to place that album so low.”

6. Future Hearts (2015)

“This is sixth purely because the other albums have to go after it (laughs)! For various reasons, our remaining records rank higher. I do really love Future Hearts, though – it’s an album that I feel really helped define our band, and it’s got some classic All Time Low songs on it.”

5. Last Young Renegade (2017)

“Last Young Renegade was a necessary step for us, but it definitely feels like a tangent within the context of the band and the other albums we’ve made. This album doesn’t define All Time Low. Looking at the big picture, it was a growing thing that as a band we needed to do.”

4. So Wrong It’s Right (2007)

“This is the record that started it all, but it does feel a little like amateur hour when I listen back to it. It’s like looking at an old school photo. I know me saying that will upset some fans, though, because I understand it’s held in high regard by a lot of people.”

3. Don’t Panic (2012)

“Don’t Panic ranks high because it was our saviour. It came after a really tumultuous period that left us feeling very unsure about things. We’d left our first major label following a traumatic record cycle for Dirty Work, and Don’t Panic came along and acted as a soft reset for our band. It got us back on track.”

2. Nothing Personal (2009)

“Looking at things historically, this is number one. Nothing Personal is objectively the definitive All Time Low record – it ensured we were in this for the long haul, and solidified us as a band that could have staying power. It’s got some of our biggest songs, like Weightless and Therapy, on it, too.”

1. Wake Up, Sunshine (2020)

“Shamelessly, I’m declaring our new record the best one we’ve ever made. Wake Up, Sunshine takes the best elements of each era of All Time Low and blends them together into a shiny new version of the band. I’m really proud of it, and I’m convinced the songs will become staples of ours.”


Collabs with hip-hop stars? 3am writing sessions? Yep, the new All Time Low album is a brilliantly wild ride. And Alex Gaskarth is here to talk through all 15 songs on Wake Up, Sunshine…

author: Emily Carter

When All Time Low regrouped last year to begin work on their new album, they came to the unanimous decision that it was going to feel warm. The record’s more conceptual predecessor, 2017’s Last Young Renegade, was set in the dark. It was time to let some light back in.

Enter: Wake Up, Sunshine – a breezy bundle of energy that sees vocalist/guitarist Alex Gaskarth, guitarist Jack Barakat, bassist Zack Merrick and drummer Rian Dawson return to their beginnings as a band, fusing the breathless enthusiasm of their teen selves with the songwriting talent they’ve accrued across an accomplished 17-year career.

”There was a lot of effort put into Wake Up, Sunshine to have songs that had that fun, summer, daytime, light feeling,” Alex explains. “The last record felt very moody, and neon, and like driving through the city streets at night time…”

Album number eight couldn’t feel further from that, its 15 songs encapsulating the Baltimore pop-punks’ brighter tendencies in truly dazzling fashion. Ahead of its release on April 3 via Fueled By Ramen, Alex introduces Wake Up, Sunshine, track by track…

1. Some Kind Of Disaster

“This was a perfect storm of a few different things. The music felt really anthemic, and then the lyrics felt like a story about the band, in a way. There are all these things that I’ve said about myself in songs throughout the years, and then there’s that key line: ‘So what are you after? / Some kind of disaster.’ It’s like I’m asking the fans if they’re ready to do this all over again with another record. It put its hand up as that song that went, ‘Okay, this has put us on the right path towards an album.’ We looked at each other and realised that it felt like it would be really cool to open a show with this song, and so we said, ‘What if we opened the record with this, too?’”

2. Sleeping In

When we started writing this song, it all had the feel of the verse intro – more of that half-time, bouncy, almost funky rhythmic thing. It felt really good, and we were all dancing around and really vibing on it. But when I came to write the chorus, it just didn’t hit. And so we decided in that moment to go really polar opposite with it – we were like, ‘What if we just go straight-up Warped Tour mosh pit?!’ For whatever reason, it just worked. It’s two very conflicting things, but they’re married together in this perfect way.”

3. Getaway Green

“When we first played Getaway Green at Slam Dunk last year, we had written a bunch of ideas and maybe three or four of them felt like they could be songs for something. We had gone to Nashville at the start of the year, but we didn’t have the intention of writing an album or beginning that process. There were a few songs that came out of those sessions that felt really good, and Getaway Green was one of them. And it was just a fun, spontaneous thing to play it at Slam Dunk. As we were working on the setlist we were like, ‘What if we played one of these new songs?!’ It unintentionally put some feelers out to see how people would react to a song of that vibe, structure and mood. It was reassuring, and made us think that people would be on board for what was coming next.”

4. Melancholy Kaleidoscope

“This is an interesting one, because the energy is pretty high, but the lyrics are exploring some darker things. It was written at a time where I was going through seasonal depression, which I’ve never really experienced before. I came in to the studio and didn’t want to write anything happy (laughs). Zakk [Cervini], our producer, was playing with this idea of a fast song, and it struck me that, ‘This isn’t where I am mentally right now.’ But it ended up being a really interesting dichotomy working on a song that was really energetic and full-speed-ahead, but contrasting what I was feeling at the time. The mood just manifested into a song about getting better and pulling yourself through it by way of music. It’s about finding yourself in a crowded room at a concert and feeling better, and also really putting the effort into feeling better. By the time we were listening back to it, I was like, ‘Wow, I feel lighter having spoken to these feelings.’”

5. Trouble Is

“This is interesting, because it’s in a very weird time signature – I wanna say it’s in 13/4, which is really odd! You get a bar of six, and then a bar of seven, and it keeps alternating. Basically, it was an exercise in writing guitar parts, vocals and melodies that fit to this hiccupping rhythmic structure. It was a way for us to do a little math (laughs) – and when you’re in a pop-punk band, you don’t often get to do that! I also really like the subject matter, which is about these people who exit your atmosphere, and then come back in and it kind of rattles your entire world. You realise that you never dealt with those feelings when they disappeared. It’s a cool topic, and a cool bed of music for it to live in!”

6. Wake Up, Sunshine

“This one comes from a personal place, and it was like I was shaking myself awake in the context of the last album, which felt like it was this dream-sequence side-bar to everything that All Time Low had done before. Wake Up, Sunshine really addresses that, like, ‘We’re awake again and the sun is up and we’re starting anew.’ For me personally that’s what the song was speaking to, but then for anyone else listening to it, it is also a message of, ‘Things can and will be okay.’ In this day and age, a lot of people are finding their validation in who shares their opinion online, and screaming into an echo chamber. This song is speaking to that, and almost saying, ‘You’re fine without that.’”

7. Monsters (featuring Blackbear)

“This was done in Palm Springs, in the later part of the process. We knew once we’d written it that we had something special; there was an energy that felt like it was going to be one of the standout songs on the record. Andrew [Goldstein, songwriter] had been working with blackbear on his new music, and as we were listening back to everything, he spoke up and said, ‘It would be really cool if we sent this to blackbear!’ We had never thought of that before, but he was really into it, and he sent back this thing to Andrew saying, ‘This is kind of the headspace I’m in at the moment anyway, so I already feel like I could write something for this.’ It really elevated the song, and took it to this new, refreshing place that we had never properly explored before. We’ve never really collaborated with someone in rap or hip-hop, and this brought a lot more energy to the song. It was a fun one to do!”

8. Pretty Venom (Interlude)

“Pretty Venom was another song in that wheelhouse where we said, ‘Let’s write some weirdos!’ I think we wrote it at, like, 3am after we had gotten back from a bar, and we sat there noodling on an acoustic guitar. The song then came together really fast, and I remember sitting on the couch with this crappy demo mic in my hand just randomly singing lines. It was all very stream-of-consciousness, and it stood out as one that absolutely had to make the record because it materialised out of nowhere. Did alcohol help? We weren’t hammered (laughs). But it was definitely a vibe. We went to bed thinking, ‘It’s probably gonna be shit…’ but when we woke up it was like, ‘Oh, there’s something here!’ (laughs). It was pretty cool.”

9. Favorite Place (featuring The Band CAMINO)

“When I was writing this last January, it had this feeling that reminded me of The Band CAMINO a little bit – not intentionally, but just the more I listened to it, I kept thinking of them. I was like, ‘What do you think of doing this with us, because it kind of reminds me of you guys?’ I felt like they belonged on it, and it wasn’t just a feature for the sake of a feature. Lyrically, I imagined the story of two star-crossed lovers, and it’s really that adage of, ‘We’re both in different places, but we’re staring at the same stars.’ I felt like we hadn’t written that [style of] song for the record yet, and everybody loves a love song!”

10. Safe

“I would say that a big portion of this record was written with the live show in mind. We wanted to bring a ton of energy back, and to capture that feeling of our old records. I think a big part of that was having all of us under one roof together, rather than me writing a song and then Jack coming in and recording his parts, and Rian coming in and recording his drums. The fact that we were all under one roof really helped us draw from the energy that the four of us bring to the table when we’re together. Safe is a really good example of that, because it’s about finding that place that makes you feel whole. For us, writing this record was that.”

11. January Gloom (Seasons, Pt.1)

“This is me writing about that feeling of seasonal depression that I was experiencing back in Nashville. Honestly, it was just so gloomy (laughs). I was there for a month, and every day was just cold and wet. It wasn’t like, ‘Oh, let’s go out and throw a snowball.’ We had a day in the studio where I was like, ‘Look, I need to call this weather out!’ Oddly enough, the song has this swagger in the verses that I don’t think we’ve ever done before, and then there’s this big lighters-up chorus, and for whatever reason it made me think of a warm fire, and that was kind of my answer to the shitty weather (laughs).”

12. Clumsy

“If if we put this on [2009’s] Nothing Personal, I think it could have still fit. It probably wouldn’t have had all the same sensibilities that this does now because we know more, but it speaks to our legacy in its tone and vibe. It feels like it transcends where it falls chronologically, and it’s a part of the bigger story of the band. I think every record has those songs, and Clumsy is one on this record. We could play it for any one of our fans – whether it’s an old fan or a new fan – and I think they would all go, ‘Yeah, that feels like All Time Low.’”

13. Glitter & Crimson

“This was dramatic to record (laughs). It was one of the last songs we wrote – in fact, it might have been the very last one. The record was almost done, but I felt like there were a couple of missing pieces. We actually went out to Big Bear [Lake, in California] – me, Jack, Zakk and Andrew. We rented a cabin and locked ourselves away for a minute. As we recorded Glitter & Crimson, it was one of those moments where we went, ‘Oh, thank god! We’ve got the thing that we were missing!’ I think the performance in the bridge is me almost knowing that it was the last take. It’s like when the director is about to call, ‘That’s a wrap!’ and everybody is like, ‘Holy shit!’ You feel that swell of relief and appreciation for getting through it.”

14. Summer Daze (Seasons, Pt.2)

“This feels like a sister song to January Gloom, thematically. It’s like the other side of that coin, where I equated it to a summer camp romance – when you’re a kid and you go away to a summer camp, and you fall in love for the first time! But you know that it’s gonna be over, and in three weeks your mom is gonna pick you up (laughs). It was sort of the opposite of January Gloom – like, ‘This feels so good, but I know it’s going to go away,’ whereas January Gloom is more, ‘This feels terrible, but I know you’re going to pull me out of it.’ It felt like it was answering January Gloom. That’s where the Seasons, Pt. 1 and Seasons, Pt. 2 comes from.”

15. Basement Noise

“I really couldn’t think of another way to end this record! The more I tried to move Basement Noise around [on the tracklist], it just never felt right anywhere else. But it also feels like a metacommentary on the record itself, and on the whole process of making it. We were speaking to our humble beginnings in Rian’s basement making terrible music (laughs). That sentiment just felt really important, especially given the way the album was made – with all four of us together under one roof and living together again. Jack and I wrote it really late at night, and I was thinking, ‘This is really cool.’ It hit me in that moment, that my best friend and I are still here making music, just like we did all the way back then…”

Wake Up, Sunshine is due out on April 3 via Fueled By Ramen.


Ten years on from the release of their career-defining record Nothing Personal, All Time Low are getting lost in stereo all over again by re-recording the album’s 12 songs for a very special anniversary edition…

author: Jake Richardson

Pop-punk heavyweights All Time Low have announced they’ll be celebrating the 10-year anniversary of their much-loved album Nothing Personal with the release of a brand new re-recording of the record. It’s Still Nothing Personal: A Ten Year Tribute will be released on November 8, featuring a new version of every song on their classic 2009 LP.

Alongside the music, the band have produced a documentary that charts the entire recording process and features in-depth interviews with all four band members, as well as input from the producers that worked on Nothing Personal. In addition, the Maryland natives have announced a set of anthology shows to commemorate the occasion, with concerts in Los Angeles, Chicago and New Jersey taking place across eight dates in December.

Nothing Personal was the band’s third album, and helped launch them on a career trajectory that’s seen them grow into a giant of contemporary rock. In the decade since its release the band have headlined festivals, played arenas around the world, and even topped the UK album charts in 2015 with their sixth LP, Future Hearts.

It was the infectious songs from Nothing Personal like Weightless and Lost In Stereo that set All Time Low on that path to stardom, though. Here, frontman Alex Gaskarth fills Kerrang! in on the anniversary celebrations, teasing what fans can expect from the new release, and reflects on the legacy of an album that changed their lives…

Have you been plotting this anniversary release of Nothing Personal for a long time, Alex?
“Yeah – we’ve always known we wanted to do something special to celebrate this album, and make it something that went beyond anthology shows. We did 10-year anniversary concerts for [2007 album] So Wrong, It’s Right, so we wanted to go a step further for Nothing Personal. In the end, we came up with the idea of doing a documentary, so we sat down and spoke about the album in great depth, and got the producers of the record involved, too. It was fun diving back into the Nothing Personal world and taking a walk down memory lane.”

Did it feel strange for you to be subjects of a documentary?
“No, because we all love talking about ourselves! (Laughs) It was a bit surreal, sure, but we’re not doing this for us. As cheesy as it may sound, we’ve done this as a thank you to all the people who have supported us over the past 10 years. Above all else, this is for the fans.”

What was it like having a camera crew film you while you recorded?
“It was very odd to have those cameras in our faces! It takes you out of the moment because you’re trying not to break the fourth wall, and it kind of feels like being in a zoo, only it’s one where thousands of people are going to watch you from the comfort of their homes! We tried our absolute best to not let it affect us, but it’s a vulnerable situation to be in when you’re trying to play every note perfectly. We’ve been filmed playing before, so it wasn’t quite a baptism of fire, but it was definitely a different experience for us. I’m glad we did it, though – it was super fun to be back at Red Bull Studios, which is where we originally recorded the bulk of Nothing Personal. It was nice to revisit those memories.”

Did you alter or reimagine any of the Nothing Personal songs while you were in the studio?
“We talked a lot about whether we should totally rearrange the songs and approach them from a fresh angle, but we’re quite precious about those tracks, and we know we’re only going to be doing a handful of Nothing Personal shows in a select few places, so we decided it’d be best to recreate that live experience as authentically as possible for those who can’t be there. Consequently, we stayed pretty true to the original versions when we were in the studio, but we did change a few parts along the way and make some improvements. I didn’t go in and rewrite the lyrics to Therapy or anything like that, though!”

Which was your favourite song to revisit?
“I really liked doing Walls – it stood out to me as one that was really fun to sing, and it’s got a cool energy to it. There’s plenty of emotion in that song, and the chorus really allows you to belt some notes. I’m eager to play that one live – I think it’ll provoke one hell of a sing-along.”

As well as the special edition of the album, you’ve announced some Nothing Personal shows for December in the U.S. What’s the plan for those?
“We’ll be playing Nothing Personal front-to-back, which will be cool because there are some songs on that record that we’ve never played live, like Walls. It’ll be interesting to see the audience’s reaction to hearing those songs live for the first time. The shows will be great moments to share with our fans, and we’ll be playing a full set alongside the anniversary material. The ferocity with which people attacked these tickets the minute they went on sale was mind-blowing to us – I believe the shows were sold out within hours – so if that’s any indication of the fanbase’s excitement, I’m pretty sure these gigs are going to be insane.”

Which of the Nothing Personal songs that you’ve not played live a lot previously are you looking forward to performing?
“I’ve always loved Sick Little Games. We played it for a tour or two a few years ago, but then it fell back into the shadows. I really like anything that I got to work with Butch Walker on – he recorded Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t) with us as well, but that’s been a set staple of ours since it came out. Rocking Sick Little Games is something I’m excited about.”

Has it been a challenge to relearn some of these older songs?
“We’ve had to work at it, yeah, but it’s been a cool process. It’s crazy how that muscle memory can still be there a decade on – some of these songs exist within us like we wrote them yesterday. It was kind of spooky being able to pick some of them up again so easily.”

Ten years on, which song from Nothing Personal stands out as the best, in your humble opinion?
“Weightless, hands down. Calling it ‘timeless’ might be a stretch, but it’s a song that’s totally synonymous with our band, in the same way that Dear Maria, Count Me In is. Weightless has really stood the test of time, and it speaks to what All Time Low has always been about; it’s a banging rock song, and that’s what we love writing. It’s a career-defining track for us.”

How far did the initial success of Nothing Personal surpass your expectations at the time?
“Thinking back, we were insanely excited during that period. Coming off the back of So Wrong, It’s Right, it felt like things were growing for the band and like we were connecting with more people. We were champing at the bit to keep going, despite there being more pressure around us and the term ‘sophomore slump’ being thrown around somewhat. Not delivering was something we were fearful of, but we wanted to put a new spin on All Time Low and really push the envelope and show what we could do. We were young and not that self-aware, and all we wanted was to make music. We were very driven in that regard. Writing a record and getting out on tour was the aim for us, but the way things snowballed totally blew us away.

You worked with several different producers on Nothing Personal, something that not many rock bands were doing at the time. Looking back, what was that process like, and what kind of impact did it have on the
finished product?
“It’s interesting, because that was never really the plan – the intention was to just work with one producer. But then we hit our stride in terms of writing and it became apparent to us that different producers could bring different things to the table. In the end we thought, ‘Let’s just go for it and do things the way they do in the worlds of pop and hip-hop.’ There weren’t a whole lot of bands allocating work like that at the time. The Matches were one band that were working that way – that’s how they made [2006 album] Decomposer – but they were one of our few contemporaries that were willing to do that. We took inspiration from those guys, and it meant we ended up with a record that had ideas from a variety of different musical worlds. To be honest, listening back to Nothing Personal, I do feel like it lacks a little focus at times and feels a bit all over the place, but that speaks to where we were as artists back then. That album was us figuring out what All Time Low was, what we should sound like, and how to not just write fast, four-chord rock songs. Nothing Personal was us branching out and doing different things for the first time, like adding electronic beats, programming and a ballad – all elements that had previously been missing from our music. The whole process really allowed us to explore our sound.”

Finally, how important do you feel the release of Nothing Personal has been to All Time Low’s success, and what legacy do you believe it’s left?
“Nothing Personal really solidified us as a band and ensured we could have a career. It took us from being a ‘buzz’ act in the Warped Tour scene with a bit of hype behind us, and turned us into a breakout band that was able to tour the world. The release of that album led to multiple festival offers and the prospect that we might some day play arenas. Before then, that kind of stuff was merely a pipe dream for us. Nothing Personal really set us up for where we are now. On So Wrong, It’s Right, we were still trying to find our feet as a band and establish who we were, whereas with Nothing Personal, we burst out of the gates and into a full sprint, and we never looked back.”

It’s Still Nothing Personal: A Ten Year Tribute is set for release on November 8 via Fueled By Ramen.


Frontman Alex Gaskarth details the pop-punks’ plans for a more relaxed 12 months.

author: Kerrang!

 All Time Low  have had a whirlwind couple of years since the release of 2017’s Last Young Renegade album, and in 2019 they’ll finally be putting their feet up for a little while.

Aside from headlining  Slam Dunk Festival  in the UK this coming May, the Baltimore pop-punks have absolutely nothing else on their collective calendar – and frontman Alex Gaskarth is seemingly pretty relieved at the prospect.

“We’re taking a bit of a break,”  he tells Kerrang!  of the band’s plans for the year. “For the last couple of records, we’ve done two-year-long cycles. With Last Young Renegade, it was winding down in the first half of 2018, but then we decided to put out [non-album singles]  Birthday  and  Everything Is Fine , which revitalised that campaign and led to more dates on the calendar. That meant another six months was tacked on to what had already been a full album cycle. For us, it feels too soon to be properly thinking about the next record – I need to sleep for at least a fortnight straight! We need to figure out what’s next and what All Time Low should be doing going forward.”

But fear not: while the guys are still mapping out their next steps, Alex is still very much open to other projects away from All Time Low.

“I definitely won’t be stepping back from music, that’s for sure,” he enthuses. “I’m looking to do more outside writing for other bands. I’ve been passionate about that for years now, but with All Time Low being what it is, it’s hard to find the time I need to dedicate to it. I’ll be making myself available in 2019 to anyone who wants to write with me, so people should definitely keep an eye out for what I’m up to. There’ll be stuff going on.”


Catch All Time Low headlining Slam Dunk at the following:


25 Leeds Temple Newsam Park – Slam Dunk North
26 Hatfield Park – Slam Dunk South

Grab your tickets and see more info at